Life in occupied Europe

Life in occupied Europe

German Occupation Policies

  • The New Order: Ideologically driven, the German policy aimed at racial purity and the establishment of a hierarchy with the German ‘master race’ at the top.
  • Forced Labour: Occupied populations were often enslaved and transported to Germany to work in factories, mines, and farms to support the German war economy.
  • Annexation and Germanisation: Parts of Western and Eastern Europe were directly annexed to Germany with attempts to ‘Germanise’ these regions through population transfers.

Resistance Movements

  • Passive Resistance: This form of defiance included slowdowns and deliberate sabotage in factories, non-compliance with German orders, and the protection of Jews and other targeted groups.
  • Active Resistance: Organised groups carried out acts of sabotage, published underground newspapers, gathered intelligence for the Allies, and carried out assassinations.
  • Partisan Warfare: Particularly in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, groups of fighters harassed German forces and collaborated with the advancing Soviet army.

Collaboration with the Germans

  • Government Collaboration: Notably in Vichy France and Quisling Norway, where governments worked with the Germans and implemented their racial policies.
  • Individual Collaboration: Some opted to collaborate out of fear, for personal gain or because they shared German ideological views. These individuals often helped in identifying and rounding up Jews and resistance members.

Life for Jews and Other Targeted Groups

  • Anti-Jewish Policies: From the outset, Jews were singled out for persecution, leading eventually to mass deportations to death camps as part of the Final Solution.
  • Non-Jewish Persecutions: Roma, disabled individuals, homosexuals, and political dissidents were also systematically persecuted, often facing similar fates to Jews.

Key Concepts

  • New Order: Nazi Germany’s plan to reshape Europe for their benefit, with a racially ‘pure’ Germanic master race at the top.
  • Final Solution: Hitler’s plan to systematically exterminate the Jewish population in Europe, leading to the Holocaust.